“These children who are apprehended are often initially placed in short-term detention centers, where the lights stay on 24 hours a day and there are no showers or recreation spaces.
At times, the facilities are so crowded with juveniles that the children have to take turns just to lie down to sleep on the concrete floor,” he said of conditions at some facilities. “Moreover, when unaccompanied minors are apprehended and deported to their countries of origin, this is often done in ways that put them at additional risk.”
The system of issuing visas by the U.S. State Department has limits for family-sponsored and employment-based preferences and quotas for individual countries. Currently, there is a 17- to 20-year “wait” for Mexicans to acquire a U.S. visa.
“How long can we ask a father to wait to be able to feed his family and offer them a future of hope? How can you tell a mother that she must wait 20 years to reunite with her husband or children?
Can we in good conscience tell a father and mother that their children’s chance for a better life should wait 20 years?” Archbishop Garcia-Siller asked.